In tune with the audience

1st November 1996 at 00:00
What do you call two buns soaked in wine ? A wine burger, of course. Richard Stilgoe's quips throughout the opening of the 52nd season of Ernest Read Concerts for Children evidently caught the imagination of two young members of the audience as they left London's Royal Festival Hall. At least they wouldn't forget composer Josef Weinberger and his popular Schwanda the Bagpiper in a hurry.

Ernest Read programmes are well balanced without being adventurous. The organisers don't want young brothers and sisters disturbing the concentration of the majority ( 7 to 12-year-olds) and no one does. The concert began with Bizet's Carmen Suite and you could have heard a pin drop.

The Ernest Read Music Association has moved with the times. In line with national curriculum requirements to study music of this century, new music has begun to appear in programmes. This concert featured The Last Clarinet by 26-year-old Paul Englishbury, one of those pieces that could never have been written without Peter and the Wolf or other antecedents based on instrumental characters.

There was opportunity for audience participation in the "Anvil Chorus", supported by a strong choir from 13 schools. The singers also gave us "The Sweet Nightingale", a former favourite with choirs that seems to have dropped out of fashion. After the first movement of the New World Symphony there was just time to skim through the story of Schwanda before the concert finished promptly after an hour and 15 minutes.

* The next Ernest Read Concert is on November 16 at 11am. The season continues until next May. For information write to ERMA, 9 Cotsford Avenue, New Malden, Surrey * Jazz flautist, composer and oboe player Yusef Lateef is holding a workshop in the Barbican Hall, London, at 1pm on November 8. Lateef, who teaches at the University of Massachusetts, will look at the history of African American music, demonstrate styles and explain how to approach improvisation. Suitable for pupils 14 and over. Details: 0181 248 7812

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